Definition of finite
1a : having definite or definable limits a finite number of possibilitiesb : having a limited nature or existence finite beings
2 : completely determinable in theory or in fact by counting, measurement, or thought the finite velocity of light
3a : less than an arbitrary positive integer and greater than the negative of that integerb : having a finite number of elements a finite set
4 : of, relating to, or being a verb or verb form that can function as a predicate or as the initial element of one and that is limited (as in tense, person, and number) finite verbs such as “is” and “are”
Examples of finite in a Sentence
a finite number of possibilities
the earth's finite supply of natural resources
the finite human life span
a finite verb such as “is” or “are”
Recent Examples of finite from the Web
Political intrigue in the nation's capital is sucking up oxygen and commanding the mainstream media's finite resources.
Some scientists have been skeptical of the Paris target for some time -- simply because there's only a finite amount of carbon dioxide that humans can put in the air before the earth is committed to a 2 degree Celsius rise in temperature.
Each area was large enough to not feel like a cramped room, but small enough to be recognizable as a finite space.
A machine based on quantum principles could, theoretically, perform the calculations quite easily, making use of near-infinite parallelism on finite hardware.)
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'finite'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Origin and Etymology of finite
Middle English finit, from Latin finitus, past participle of finire —see 1finish
First Known Use: 15th century
FINITE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of finite for English Language Learners
: having limits : having a limited nature
grammar : of or relating to a verb form that shows action that takes place at a particular time (such as the past)
FINITE Defined for Kids
Definition of finite for Students
: having definite limits I was given a finite number of choices.
Word Root of finite
The Latin word finis, meaning “end” or “boundary,” gives us the root fin. Words from the Latin finis have something to do with ends or limits. Something final, such as the last chapter in a book, is the ending one. To confine is to put limits or boundaries around something. To finish something is to come to its end. Something finite has limits and happens only for a certain amount of time or in a certain space before it ends.
Seen and Heard
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